It feeds on aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates. Lesser Yellowlegs can be identified by their….wait for it….their yellow legs! Greater Yellowlegs - Lesser (left) and Greater (right) Yellowlegs in winter plumage Length: 10 to 11 inches : Length: 14-15 inches But to complicate things a bit, they have a larger cousin called the Greater Yellowlegs. They are a Winter visitor to Florida and a very relaxing bird to watch! This video shows a "ballet" between a Lesser and Greater, with a Willet thrown… Greater Yellowlegs (3) - Adult in winter plumage. Greater vs. lesser yellowlegs. ... and has a pale base. FYI, Lesser Yellowlegs would have an even thinner bill, it would be shorter compared to the size of the head, would be straight rather than upturned, and wouldn't have much if any pale coloration to the base. It's possible to tell the two yellowlegs species apart if birders watch for these traits: See the table below for quick comparisons between greater and lesser yellowlegs characteristics. American Crow or Common Raven: Identifying Differences, Top 15 Most Popular Bird Species in North America, How to Use Wing Structure to Identify Birds. Legs are too long for dowitcher and too bright. The bill is straight and uniformly dark gray. 3. In Greater these notes are noticeably rougher than the typical “flight call,” due to a brief burry or grating sound in the middle of each note. When watching yellowlegs in the field, remember these tips to be more certain about which bird is which: Most importantly, don't get discouraged if it is not always possible to tell the two yellowlegs species apart. 2 years ago. Proportions are more important: bill only slightly longer than the head and straight; smaller overall than Greater Yellowlegs with shorter neck, rounded head, and cuter appearance. Greater yellowlegs. The bill is straight, thin, and of medium length. When feeding appears angry, aggressive(*). Unfortunately, the photo present of the greater and lesser both have similar length bills (porportionally). Beautiful Lesser Yellowlegs the aptly named Sandpiper with the yellow legs. The call of the Greater is much stronger than the Lesser, usually 3 or more descending notes. A lot of people have trouble separating these two species in the field. By knowing what to look for, every birder can sharpen their skills and feel more confident when identifying yellowlegs. Listen: Sound of the Lesser yellowlegs: Sound of the Greater yellowlegs: Body size: Dainty, slender, weighs 2.8 oz: Substantial, a bit bulky, weighs 6 oz: Behavior: Dainty. With LESSER YELLOWLEGS, note the thin all-dark bill, light eyebrow, faint dark cap to the top of the head and relatively 'clean' underside with faint, light barring to flanks. Even experienced birders can have trouble with these confusing birds, but the more familiar you become with both of them, the more confident you will eventually feel with every yellowlegs you see. Greater Yellowlegs - First year bird in worn juvenile plumage. This week we launch the mini-tutorial demonstrating how to distinguish between four wading shorebird species: the Lesser Yellowlegs, Greater Yellowlegs, Stilt Sandpiper, and Ruff. Both yellowlegs give loud, incessant calls in series when they are upset, year-round. If you like this movie, please click 'like'. Peiker. As you have already guessed, “yellow legs” are a distinguishing feature of this long-billed shorebird. All times are UTC - 5 hours . The greater yellowlegs is similar in appearance to the smaller lesser yellowlegs. It tends to be more heavily barred than the lesser and tends to be loner. It tends to be more heavily barred than the lesser and tends to be loner. Runs sometimes. Greater Yellowlegs have a bill that is about twice the length of its head, and sometimes shows a slight upward curve. The call is usually one or sometimes more "teewee" sounds, usually of the same pitch. & 2. Greater Yellowlegs: high of 291 on 12 August (including migrating groups), still mostly adult by the end of the session but juveniles increasing. Most winter in the Tropics. The greater yellowlegs has a higher pitched, more strident voice and tends to speak in 3-4 syllable phrases, while the lesser yellowlegs has a softer voice and favors 1 … Also Solitary leg color is not this noticeably yellow, tending instead toward greenish. Please feel free to add your own. Greater Yellowlegs are closer in size to the Willet, but isolated birds can be difficult to identify based on size. Killdeer. The dark back is covered in light spots, and the head is streaked gray. Many times, just seeing one or even two field marks is not typically enough to feel confident about the correct identification for these birds. GreaterYellowlegs vs Lesser Yellowlegs (1 of 2) I've called out the fieldmarks I know. They are perfectly clear, without any trace of roughness: Greater Yellowlegs (2) -Adult in winter plumage. Greater yellowlegs are larger than lesser yellowlegs, but size can be hard to judge unless both species are side by side. If you are familiar with a Willet, the Greater Yellowlegs … All of the following images have the Lesser Yellowlegs on the left, and the greater on the right. Was a noticeably small shorebird and exhibited head bobbing and body bobbing behavior. Breeding birds have more extensive streaking on the flanks than breeding Lesser Yellowlegs. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board, Extensive dark barring during the breeding season, White speckles on secondary feathers seen in flight, More widespread particularly in winter and northern regions. View Full Species Account. Lesser Yellowlegs … Telling the Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs apart takes some practice, but the differences are easy to learn. The call of the Greater is much stronger than the Lesser, usually 3 or more descending notes. The legs are long and yellow. What is the main difference between the lesser yellowlegs and the greater yellowlegs? Curvature of bill. When it is wintertime, it is easy to tell the species apart based on this feature. Compare individual birds to other nearby species to be able to judge their size more accurately, and use those comparisons for general measurements. Use a spotting scope if possible and study the birds thoroughly, noting as many details as can be clearly seen to compare between them for appropriate identification. Take the time to listen to recordings of yellowlegs' calls to become familiar with the two distinct voices, and. Among them, these three species show all the basic leg and foot colors found in the shanks, demonstrating that this character is paraphyletic. Notice how much tibia (upper leg) shows below the belly. In April they begin to show back up in small flocks as the fly around the Gulf of Mexico, not across it. Greater Yellowlegs have a bill that is about twice the length of its head, and sometimes shows a slight upward curve. The bill of Greater Yellowlegs is actually longer (50 mm or more, compared to Lesser’s 40 mm or less) but birders deal with impressions of size, not absolute measurements, so we rely more on the fact that Greater’s bill is relatively longer (compared to the head). In addition, their body sizes are different whereas the Lesser Yellowlegs is smaller. Often referred to as a “marshpiper” for its habit of wading in deeper water than other sandpipers, the Greater Yellowlegs is heftier and longer-billed than its lookalike, the Lesser Yellowlegs. It differs from the lesser yellowlegs by it size (14 inches compared to 10 1/2 inches) and by its longer bill (about one and one-half times the width of its head). She has over 16 years experience writing about wild birds for magazines and websites. The Solitary Sandpiper is shaped like the Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, but is smaller than both and has shorter, greenish legs. Lesser's bill is always dark, while Greater's bill is grayish at the base in non-breeding season. The head shapes of these two birds are quite different, adding to the possible confusion in identification. I agree with Greater Yellowlegs--Heavy upturned bill, much longer legs than Solitary. But note the Lesser’s thin bill that is only as long as its head; Greater’s bill is longer than its head and more stout. Comparison of Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, Comparison of Orange-crowned and Tennessee Warblers. Color of legs. Bill characteristics and differences in flight call are typically the most reliable means for differentiating between the two species. Yes Greater with a Lesser. The white lower rump and dark-barred tail are visible in flight. Found in Gainesville, FL. It tends to be more heavily barred than the lesser and tends to be loner. In migration, the Greater Yellowlegs is common from coast to coast. At ponds and tidal creeks, this trim and elegant wader draws attention to itself by bobbing its head and calling loudly when an observer approaches. Greater Yellowlegs (1) - Adult in winter plumage. Black oystercatcher. The only book I have with info on these shows two very similar pictures, yet cites that the main distinguishing feature other than size is the lenght of the bill. The greater yellowlegs and lesser yellowlegs are one of the most confusing pairs of shorebirds, but it is possible to pick out characteristics that can distinguish between these two nearly identical species. Greater Yellowlegs are larger with a longer and thicker bill than Lesser Yellowlegs. A small flock of feeding yellowlegs almost always Lesser and not Greater Yellowlegs. At first glance, the two species of yellowlegs look identical except for size, as if they were put on earth only to confuse birdwatchers. The is bill slightly longer than its head. Greater Yellowlegs are seen mostly during migration, as they pass between nesting grounds in the mosquito-ridden bogs of boreal Canada and wintering territories on marshes across the southern tier of the United States. Greater Yellowlegs. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. Lessers appear delicate in every way, including the all-dark needle-thin … Edited March 30 by HamRHead One of the image pairs has a Solitary Sandpiper instead of the Greater Yellowlegs. The way to remember greater vs lesser: 3 Tus are greater than 1. These two long-legged shorebirds can be easy to confuse with each other, and with at least one other species. Greater Yellowlegs has a proportionally larger bill that is … See if you can spot it. The Greater Yellowlegs also obtains a paler bill base during the winter. Number of wing bars. The DBC Board is pleased to present Mini-Tutorials on the DBC YouTube Channel. Just in from an excellent study of an adult Lesser and an adult Greater at the Richmond Sewage Lagoons southwest of Ottawa. Greaters also have a longer, thicker bill, especially at the base, that is often two-tone. The identity of the first yellowlegs recorded in New Zealand (lesser vs greater), at Porirua Harbour in November 1962, was much debated before it was accepted as a lesser yellowlegs. There is one exception. The difference is just from different postures. Melissa Mayntz has been a birder and wild bird enthusiast for 30+ years. This is supported by the subsequent records of at least 17 lesser yellowlegs with, as yet, none of the larger species. The black oystercatcher is, as the name suggests, a … Lesser Yellowlegs are Killdeer-sized sandpipers, but with long legs that can sometimes be covered in mud. NEXT> 8. The Lesser is often at smaller ponds, often present in larger flocks, and often seems rather tame. Its closest relative, however, is the greenshank, which together with the spotted redshank form a close-knit group. Greater Yellowlegs are closer in size to the Willet, but isolated birds can be difficult to identify based on size. The Greater Yellowlegs has a longer bill in proportion to its head, while the Lesser Yellowlegs's bill is stouter and smaller. Lesser Yellowlegs : Greater Yellowlegs: Tringa flavipes : Tringa melanoleuca : Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs can be difficult to distinguish, especially when seen individually. It has a swift direct flight with rapid wing beats. Greater Yellowlegs have a bill that is about twice the length of its head, and sometimes shows a slight upward curve. Lesser Yellowlegs: This large sandpiper has gray and black mottled upperparts, white underparts, and streaked upper breast and sides. © Albert Linkowski | Macaulay Library California, May 17, 2017. Print: Moderators: Greg Downing, E.J. Ottawa, ON: Gillian_M: Bird Identification Q&A: 15: Wednesday 23rd April 2008 03:00: Greater Yellowlegs / Lesser Yellowlegs: Dave S: Bird Identification Q&A: 4: Wednesday 25th January 2006 07:46: Greater Yellowlegs vs Lesser Yellowlegs: Dave S: Bird Identification Q&A: 14: Sunday 23rd May 2004 16:33 Plumage is essentially identical to Greater Yellowlegs; gray upperparts with white speckling, and white belly. Greater Yellowlegs? With better acquaintance, they turn out to have different personalities. You can all easily tell the difference, no? 1. The Lesser Yellowlegs has a noticeably shorter and straight bill whereas the Greater Yellowlegs almost always has a slightly upturned and longer bill. Greater Yellowlegs has a slightly upturned bill with a blunt-tip, while Lesser Yellowlegs has a straight, sharp-pointed bill. NEXT> 7. In Lesser, the notes of the alarm call strongly resemble the notes of the “flight call,” but marginally higher. Greater Yellowlegs. Picks at surface or under water. Whimbrel: high of 40 on 5 August. Size. Long-billed curlew. Lesser Yellowlegs: high of 314 on 5 August, higher proportion of juveniles than Greater Yellowlegs but still more adults. There is much overlap between the distinguishing characteristics for both the greater and lesser yellowlegs. The head is dark enough that the white eye-ring is fairly distinct.